Sharry's Place




The Story of James Francis Betlach

James was born April 11, 1932 and adopted by Joseph and Alta Christianson Betlach. He was baptized in the Cathedral at St. Paul, Minnesota. He grew up in Alpha, Minnesota, entered the military and served in Company A 127th Airborne Engineer Battalion. He was killed while on leave by a drunk driver on June 26, 1952 in Alpha. James was my cousin.

Uncle Joe and Aunt Alta had had a biological child; a daughter, Ruby, born on May 31, 1929 in Hendricks (Lincoln County) Minnesota. Unfortunately she was stillborn which must have left them devastated. To know Uncle Joe and Aunt Alta it wasn't difficult to understand that they would have wanted to have another child but my guess is because of Alta's physical size, she being under 5 feet tall in shoes... there must have been a physical reason for them not to try and have another child of their own.

I personally never knew much about James because I had just turned a year old when he was killed. My family always thought and spoke very highly of him and it is my loss that I never got to know him. While doing some research on my Betlach family lines I noticed on Jimmy's Baptismal Certificate an initial had been included in his name on the certificate. His name read's James Francis G. Betlach. I further noticed that the Baptism sponsors by proxy were John and Hazel Gainey. My question has always been "Could the Gainey family somehow be related to Jimmy's biological family or perhaps were they his grandparents?

I have written and requested permission from the Minnesota Human Resources Department to have access to Jimmy's adoption records since none of the original paperwork exists. At first I was told that I had to be a sister or brother or grandparent to view the records, being a cousin didn't qualify me as having a close enough family relation with Jimmy. Then after hearing that there are no surviving relatives except myself and my brother Robert, I was told to send proof that Joe and Alta were deceased and that any other relative that could claim a closer relation were also deceased. I provided them with that information and now I am waiting to hear if my request will be granted. **Update** January 1, 2009. I have found out that James was born in Winona County. I have been in in contact with Court Administration, filed the petition they requested to access the birth record and now I am waiting yet again for their response. I am more convinced now that there may be a Gainey family connection as the Gainey family lived in Winona County also.

If anyone reading this knows anything concerning James' adoption or of any possible connection the Gainey family could have had to him I would appreciate your contacting me. I would love to learn more about him and his biological background. Update: January 2011. I've been given nothing but the runaround by each county vital record office I've contacted concerning Jimmy's original birth certificate. I've been told to contact this office and that office, which I have done several times. My patience has grown very thin in dealing with all the red tape, so now it's my hope that someone with information about the Gainey family will contact me and I can obtain the information that way.

~ Site Map ~
  Jimmy, First Communion
  Jimmy, Service Photo
  Joseph and Alta Betlach
  Joe and Jimmy
  Jimmy Age 2 years (1934)
  Jimmy, Obituary
  Death Certificate
  Contact Me

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Compostition "Shadows of the Past"
Copyright 2004 Bruce DeBoer. Used
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